First Week of Advent
December 1-7, 2002
volume 13, no. 145

The Germs of G.I.R.M.

Part Sixty: Self-communication can lead to self-excommunication!

    "Many priests permit self-communication, especially from chalices, which is one of the reasons why Communion under both kinds, to be discussed briefly below and in a later installment of this series, is so insidious and leads to so much sacrilege. "

Paragraph 152 and 153 of GIRM reads as follows:

    152: "At the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest, with hands joined, says the introduction to the Lord's Prayer. With hands outstretched, he then sings or says with this prayer with the people."

    153: "After the Lord's Prayer is completed, the priest alone, with hands outstretched, says the embolism Deliver us. At the end, the congregation makes the acclamation, For the kingdom."

Comment and Analysis: It is the living tradition of the Roman Rite that the priest alone prays the Pater Noster. This is the case even in High Masses. He, the celebrant, the alter Christus, is offering the prayer in behalf of the faithful to the Father in Spirit and in Truth. The faithful do not participate vocally. And the inclusion of the Protestant doxology, which is nowhere found in Catholic tradition, only adds to the sense that it is the faithful's exterior, vocal participation that is necessary for the efficacy of the Our Father in the context of the Mass.

Paragraph 154 of GIRM reads as follows:

    "Then the priest, with his hands extended, says aloud: Lord Jesus Christ, you said. After this prayer is concluded, extending and then joining his hands, he gives the greeting of peace while facing the people and says: The peace of the Lord be with you always. The people answer: And also with you. Then the priest may add: Let us offer one another a sign of peace. The priest may give the sign of peace to the ministers, always remaining in the sanctuary, lest the celebration be disrupted. He should do likewise if, for a good reason he wishes to offer the sign of peace to a few of the faithful. All, in accordance with the decisions of the Conference of Bishops, make a sign to one another that expresses peace, community and charity. While the sign of peace is being given, the following may be said: The peace of the Lord be with you always. The response is: Amen."

Comment and Analysis: Defenders of the new order of things, especially the neoconservatives, grasp at straws when holding fast to their continually disproved belief that GIRM and Liturgiam Authenticam (LA) are going to stop abuses in the new Mass. Neoconservatives have been quick to seize on Paragraph 154 to contend that the irreverent, irresponsible, irritating and distracting "Sign of Peace" is not mandated in the new Mass by GIRM, which uses the word "may" twice in this paragraph. As a matter of fact, however, this Protestant and anthropocentric novelty, which distracts from the interior preparation we should be making to receive Our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Holy Communion, is mandatory in one diocese after another. This disruption results in noise, maudlin displays of sentimentality, backslapping, conversations and an ambiance in a church which resembles an auditorium or a Protestant meeting assembly, not the dignity and decorum required at the Sacrifice of the Mass. We know full well that practically no bishop is going to stop priests from leaving the sanctuary to "greet the people," sometimes pew by pew up and down a particular church, if they desire to do so. This particular novelty of the new Mass has been one of the chief vehicles by which reverence and sacredness have been destroyed at the time we should be concentrating on the worthy and devout reception of Holy Communion.

Paragraphs 155-159 of GIRM read as follows:

    155: The priest then takes the Eucharistic bread and breaks it over the paten. He places a small piece in the chalice, saying inaudibly: May this mingling. Meanwhile, the Lamb of God is sung or recited by the choir and congregation (see no. 56:5)."

    156: "Then at communion the priest, with hands joined, inaudibly says: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, or Lord Jesus Christ, with faith in your love and mercy."

    157: At the conclusion of the prayer, the priest genuflects, takes the Eucharistic bread, and holding it slightly above the paten or above the chalice, while facing the people, says: This is the Lamb of God. With the people he adds, once only: Lord, I am not worthy."

    158: "Next, facing the altar, the priest says inaudibly: May the body of Christ bring me to everlasting life, and reverently consumes the body of Christ. Then he takes the chalice, saying inaudibly: May the blood of Christ bring me to everlasting life, and reverently drinks the blood of Christ."

    159: "The communion song is begun while the priest is receiving the Sacrament (see no. 56:9)."

Comment and Analysis: As noted in earlier installments of this series, the "simplification" of what is now called the "Communion Rite" in the "Liturgy of the Eucharist" has omitted very significant traditional elements of the Roman Rite. The priest's communion stands alone from that of the people in the Traditional Latin Mass. Why? Well, it's very simple (pun intended): the priest's reception of the Body and Blood of Our Lord is the completion of the Sacrifice He is offering to the Father in the person of the Son in Spirit and in Truth. He needs to complete the Sacrifice before the faithful are invited to receive Holy Communion themselves. To overlay a song as the priest receives Holy Communion is sacrilegious.

   Also omitted in these paragraphs of GIRM is the triple Domine, non sum dignus said by the priest sotto voce before his own reception of Holy Communion and by him when he presents a small Host to the congregation after he himself has self-communicated. Gone also is the second Confiteor, which was said by a server for the people after the priest had completed the sacrifice and before the faithful receive Holy Communion. (Yes, strictly speaking, the 1962 Missal issued by Pope John XXIII abolished the second Confiteor, a portend of things to come.) No, the faithful do not have to be reminded of their sinfulness and unworthiness prior to their reception of Holy Communion. They do not have to be reminded of the fact that it is only by God's ineffable mercy that we are permitted to receive that which is denied to the angels themselves: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the God-Man, the Theandric Person, in Holy Communion. Apart from that, therefore, there is nothing at all wrong in these five paragraphs in GIRM.

Paragraph 160 of GIRM reads as follows:

    "The priest then takes the paten or a vessel and goes to the communicants, who, as a rule, approach in a procession. The faithful are not permitted to take up the consecrated bread or the sacred chalice themselves, and still less hand them on to one another. The faithful may communicate either standing or kneeling, as established by the Conference of Bishops. However, when they communicate standing, it is recommended that they make an appropriate gesture of reverence, to be laid down in the same norms, before receiving the Sacrament."

Comment and Analysis: That GIRM has to remind bishops and priests that the faithful cannot self-communicate the Sacred Species is indeed quite telling. It is frequently the case that the faithful are permitted to communicate from a chalice containing the Most Precious Blood of the Divine Redeemer by themselves.

   To wit, there is a priest in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Father Henry Ignatius Benack, who left his own chalice on the free-standing altar in the chapel (formerly the main church) of St. Dominic's Parish in my beloved Oyster Bay, Long Island. When I wrote to his pastor, the recently deceased Monsignor James E. Collins (who was pastor of St. Dominic's between 1964 and 1987; his New Age successor, Monsignor Charles "Bud" Ribaudo, was forced to resign because of charges made against him shortly after Monsignor Collins's death. There are those of us who like to think that Monsignor Collins found a way in eternity to get rid of his successor, a man who did not believe in the Faith of Jesus Christ but in a faith of Eastern syncretism) about the matter, Benack was stopped from his horrible practice. He telephoned me angrily to say, "You, sir, are a Pharisee. A Pharisee. I give my people freedom, freedom from the Church." I replied, "Well, Father, that's quite efficacious. You give your people freedom from their means of salvation. That's most efficacious for the salvation of souls." Father Benack, however, is far from alone. Many priests permit self-communication, especially from chalices, which is one of the reasons why Communion under both kinds, to be discussed briefly below and in a later installment of this series, is so insidious and leads to so much sacrilege.

   Furthermore, we know that it is a simple fact of life in the United States (and much of the world for that matter) that the faithful are forbidden from kneeling for Holy Communion in the new Mass. Sure, there are exceptions (St. Mary's by the Sea in Huntington Beach, California; St. Michael's Abbey in Silverado, California; Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara, California; St. John Kantius in Chicago; St. Agnes Church in New York City; St. Matthew's Church in Dix Hills, New York; St. Agnes Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota, among others). However, many are the instances in which those who have attempted to kneel for Holy Communion have been denied the reception of Our Lord. My dear wife Sharon had this happen to her at the Chrism Mass in Orange, California, in 2001. She knelt, and was refused Holy Communion. The revolutionaries demand absolute conformity to that which is completely novel in the Roman Rite: unworthy vessels of clay standing as though they are equals with the Divine Redeemer as they receive Him in Holy Communion. [Editor's Note: You can read more of this in her article "Who wants to be a Saint?" in Sanctity of Sanity.] This is but another example of how Paragraph 22 of Sacrosanctum Concilium (The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) failed the Church, especially as it relates to the devolution of much of liturgical decision-making to local diocesan ordinaries and to the national Episcopal conferences.

Comment and Analysis:

Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.

For past installments of G.I.R.M. Warfare in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives

First Week of Advent
December 1-7, 2002
volume 13, no. 145
The Germs of G.I.R.M.

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